Forget getting dressed up or putting on makeup. Don’t worry about setting up the perfect meal with candlelight. Date night is about connecting. It’s about sharing your most precious commodity: time. So often, we can miss the fun of date night by planning date night. Here’s to a practical date night that will continue to rock your marriage long after it’s over.
Last week, we talked about ways to clear the electronic clutter from our daily lives to spend more time offline lovingly connecting with our spouses.
Now it’s time to turn to physical clutter. What does this have to do with a date night? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that in just a moment.
All that stuff we own and buy (and keep buying!) can get in the way of having physical space to bond and share with our honeys and our families. Not to mention the debt it can cause, but that is a blog post for another day.
First, let’s review why clutter can be so stressful.
Several research studies have shown that clutter overloads your senses and stress hormones spike up.
Have you ever had too many tabs open in your computer and noticed the computer going much slower? You close a few tabs and suddenly your computer can process information much faster. Imagine that happening in your brain.
Now imagine your spouse comes home, after a stressful day, and wants and needs your attention. But you my dear friend are already overloaded.
I think we can all agree that love is more important than things right? And yet, we let physical things get in the way of love way too easily sometimes. Remember this – “mess causes stress.” Remember it so that you can do something about it.
First ask yourself, does your home feel like your sanctuary? Is there a particular space in your home where your Clutter-Guard goes up? Start there and ask your hubby if he would be willing to have a De-Clutter Date. (Yes, you really can make it fun! And yes it’s a totally free date night idea. You’re welcome.)
Ideas for a De-Clutter Date
- Make a playlist for your iPod.
- Choose some yummy take out or your favorite quick and easy meal.
- Decide on a prize or activity you can enjoy at the end.
- Brainstorm how you can make it fun to clear your space.
- Schedule it. Because if it’s not on the schedule, it won’t happen.
- What are you doing this weekend? (Yes, that was a not-so-subtle-hint!)
If you don’t have time this weekend, then start with the tiniest increment of time you can. The idea is to experience more peace and order and not get overwhelmed, so permission for baby steps is totally granted. Start tiny and even if it’s just one junk drawer, decide what to keep and what to give to charity or throw away.
Here are 5 ways you can start clearing clutter right now:
I learned these from watching Peter Walsh over the years on Oprah. Start asking yourself these questions to determine what to keep or clear out.
- When was the last time I used this? Over 2 years is definitely in the bye pile. (Unless it’s my wedding dress, which I have permission from the hubs to keep forever.)
- Am I keeping it for sentimental reasons? (In the case of my wedding dress, you betcha!)
- Can we use it again?
- Do I love it?
- Will someone else find it more useful than me?
That last one is something I discovered over the years. That sometimes giving away things gives me the sweetest joy just by imagining someone else being blessed by something I once found beautiful and useful.
Also use these questions when you are going to add anything to your home, being more selective before we buy things helps keep what we love in and what becomes clutter out.
To help with this it’s also useful to learn the difference between STUFF and TRASH.
(Yes, I made up acronyms for them!)
STUFF = Symbols That Undeniably Feel Fabulous (hint – you can keep those!)
TRASH = Things Resembling Authentic Success (that are truly) Hogwash (you guessed it, those are in the bye-bye pile!)
STUFF = that old sweater from when you were dating that your hubby loves on you, KEEP.
TRASH = those really expensive shoes that you never wear, GO.
You can read more about my whole Stuff and Trash adventures in de-cluttering here
By Maggie Reyes. Maggie Reyes is a Life Coach, Writer + the Founder of ModernMarried.com.